Sunday, June 18, 2017



One of those multi-Contacts.

'Contact' is where your foster children meet up with their significant others; mums, dads, siblings. Sometimes Contact is a bit more complicated than that, but hey ho. We take our foster children  along, no matter their worries in advance, we pick them up no matter their upset afterwards. 

Today was a complicated one.

It was something along the lines of; our foster child was down to meet a sister who was probably her most significant other as the real mother is not known but the apparent mother who was the partner of the father who is not necessarily the blood father but the male who stood up at the time to claim he was going to paternalise the family but found it too much so he left so another male arrived whose behaviour along with the behaviour of some of our child's siblings became unacceptable. The sister had a child of her own possibly by the first or maybe the second father mentioned above. 

But the sister was, until our foster child came into care, the only person who the child had felt any love from.

Now, the uninitiated would think that for a child in care the prospect of meeting the most profound attachment of your life, someone you love but who you don't get to see much, is going to engender deep joy and happiness in the child.

Not never in my book.

It makes them tense, fearful and edgy. 

Maybe there are foster children who confound this scenario, if so, lucky foster carers.

Usually you have to get to work. It is work too. It's a job, and sometimes you have to see it as a job to get it done to the best of your ability. Sometimes it means squashing your urge to treat everyone in your home as family and remember that with your foster children it's a job.

In today's case, the sister brought her own child and wanted to chat about the whole family with me while our foster child played with the sister's child.  By the way, there's isn't a genealogist alive who could get within a hundred light years of what relationship our foster child is to the child of her 'sister'. 

And the sun was high. The contact was in a park. 

You're checking on a thousand things; Sun factor 30, re-hydration, lunch (Maslo's basics).  You're checking on your foster child every 10 seconds as they zoom around the park for a) Health and Safety b) Emotional wellbeing c) Fun. Fun is actually most important but harder to measure.

You're checking on the significant others. How is the sister? How is her child? What will you say if social workers ask if you think your foster child could go live with her sister? Should you let your foster child go off to the ice cream kiosk with five pounds to buy three lollies, what if the cost is more and the child gets upset? What if they can't queue properly? 

The sister seemed a bit thrown by everything she has to deal with right now.

We got home half an hour ago, the journey was sweaty and a bit tense, but when we pulled onto our drive the noises made were that it was a good day.

Like I said; 


We'd sat in bed earlier this morning and started talking about what was good in our lives, we don't do it often enough, I don't think people do generally. 

Fostering is, on the whole, one of the three or four best things in our lives, and tomorrow we'll wake up a bit earlier than we want to and sit in bed with a cup of tea and talk about what more we can do for everyone in the family, including and especially the young people we have been judged good enough to help. Then we'll  get going, clean our teeth and make breakfasts and lunch boxes.

Then I'll phone Social Services and say we had contact with our child's sister and we're a bit worried she's got a lot on her plate. I've done it before and you know what? Every time they are grateful for my information. Or at least if they're not they do a damn good job of protecting me from the possibility that I need someone to have a moan at.

The sum-up of today in the park with the ultra-complicated contact? It was a marginal victory for love over yuk, for good over bad, for better over worse. Which is basically what fostering is on a day to day basis.


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